LaJuné McMillian: Black Movement Pop Up Library. Curated by Yvonne Mpwo.

September 15 – October 29, 2022

Due to the process-based nature of the Session program, Black Movement Pop Up Library will undergo constant modifications; the features of this page provide accruing information on the project’s developments.

Ways to Experience the Project

Events are subject to change. With the exception of drop-in hours, we ask the public to reserve a time online for one or more of the following public engagements. Since slots are limited, we ask that visitors commit to attending and cancel in advance if their plans change. All events are free. Participants are asked to bring dry goods or hygiene products for local mutual aid efforts.

 

Drop-in Interactive Hours (time-variable) – No RSVP needed
Fridays & Saturdays 12-6 pm

Check out the Session installation with the artist or docent. Various prompts will allow for a self-guided exploration of the artist’s process and a library of relevant writings will be available to peruse.

Private Studio Visits with the Artist (60mins, For Groups of 1-4)
Tuesdays 12-6 pm

By appointment only, sign up no later than 10am the same day at recessartscheduling.as.me.

Opening Reception
Thursday, Sep 22, 6-8 pm

Join the artist and curator to view the installation and library and enjoy light refreshments.

Register for the Opening Reception

Black Movement in Digital Spaces
October 22nd and the 29th, 2-6pm

Two days of programming that invites other Black thinkers to engage the key questions posed by the project and will include such activities as: a motion capture workshop, movement-based workshops, a panel discussion and a new movement portrait reveal. Please note that these gatherings center the needs of Black Folx. BIPOC POC Women & femmes are also prioritized and welcome to join. Please respectfully consider whether you identify with this demographic before signing up.

October 22nd 2-7pm – ALL PROGRAMMING ONLINE

2-3pm: Meditation with Jazmine Hayes

3:30-4:25pm: Understanding, Transforming, and Preserving Movement in Digital Spaces with LaJuné McMillian Part 1: Avatar Creation

5-6pm Conversation: “The Future of Black Libraries” with Asmaa Walton & Ola Ronke moderated by LaJuné McMillian 

Click here to register for October 22nd 

October 29th, 2-7pm ALL EVENTS IN PERSON

2-3pm: Meditation with Jazmine Hayes

3-4: Light Refreshments in the Gallery

4-5pm: Understanding, Transforming, and Preserving Movement in Digital Spaces with LaJuné McMillian Part 2: Motion Capture

5-6pm: Future Bodies: A Conversation between Ayo Tanimowo Okunseinde and  LaJuné McMillian

630-7pm WIP Presentation of Rena Anakwe Movement Portrait  & Closing remarks by LaJuné McMillian

Click here to register for October 29th

Black Movement Pop Up Library

Drop-in Hours

Fridays & Saturdays 12-6 pm

Private Studio Visits with the Artist

(60mins, For Groups of 1-4)

Thursdays, 12–6 pm. By appointment only.

To make an appointment, sign up no later than 10 am the same day at recessartscheduling.as.me 

While we do not require proof of vaccination, use of KN95, or N95, or KF94 Masks (age 2+) are required for all visitors. One will be provided if other types of mask are worn.

 

In the past few years, access to motion capture data, 3D base models, and software to “make an animation of yourself” has skyrocketed. While these resources are extremely helpful to create a range of projects, they lack tools to create diverse characters and movements unexplored by systems that center assumptions of neutrality. The Black Movement Pop Up Library (BMPUL) is a library for activists, performers & artists to create diverse XR projects, a space to research how and why we move, and an archive of Black existence. BMPUL seeks to grow community through the use of performances, XR experiences, workshops, conversations and tool making.

As a new media artist and creative technologist, McMillian challenges the limitations of western technologies specifically in terms of how they may harm, isolate, place limitations on, and ignore the needs of Black people. Their project centers the needs of Black folx and asks them to consider how they might operate in spaces not built for them–the same spaces built to control and surveil them. It asks if these tools can be reappropriated, and if so, what does that process look like?  While at Recess, they are specifically inviting folks normally not in tech spaces to have access to these important conversations affecting our everyday lives. The BMPUL envisions a space to combat the commodification, exploitation, erasure, and dilution of Black culture and people.  What might cultural reparations and accountability look like? Furthermore, how can we discover, learn, invest in, and steward systems that prioritize liberation and abundance?

The BMPUL brings together various strains of McMillian’s recent work. On view will be several Black Movement Portraits which serve as a way to learn about the lives of performers contributing their movement data to the library. The artist will also be inviting additional movers to become part of the archive using a combination of techniques and technologies that include interviews about their movement histories; using perception neuron motion-capture suits to witness signature movement vocabularies; and then co-creating digital avatars and 3D worlds in which their avatars move in liberated contexts. They will also present elements of their workshop Understanding, Transforming, and Preserving Movement in Digital Spaces to introduce the public to Extended Reality tools in relationship to race, gender, and culture and explore issues of cultural representation and exploitation through readings and discussion.

On the last two Saturdays of their Session, the artist will also curate “Black Movement in Digital Spaces,” a hands-on in person community gathering bringing together Black people in different fields, from different perspectives to dive into these questions with the community. 

The Black Movement Pop Up Library is part of Recess’s program, Session, which invites artists to use Recess’s public platform to combine productive studio space with dynamic exhibition opportunities. Sessions remain open to the public from the first day of the artist’s project through the last, encouraging sustained dialogue between artists and audiences. Due to the process-based nature of Session, projects undergo constant revision and the above proposal is subject to change.

 About the Artist & Curator

LaJuné McMillian is a new media artist, and Creative Technologist creating art that integrates performance, extended reality, and physical computing to question our current forms of communication. McMillian has shown and spoken about their work at Pioneer Works, National Sawdust, Leaders in Software and Art, Creative Tech Week, and Art && Code’s Weird Reality. The artist was previously the Director of Skating at Figure Skating in Harlem, where they integrated STEAM and Figure Skating to teach girls of color about movement and technology. They have continued their research on Blackness, Movement, and Technology during residencies at Eyebeam, Pioneer Works Barbarian Group, and Barnard College.

Yvonne Mpwo (she/her) is a New York based, Congolese – American, independent curator whose intersectional curatorial practice anatomizes capital in both virtual and physical spaces. Yvonne began her socially engaged curatorial practice in Texas and moved to New York to collaborate with organizations and individuals dedicated to socially engaged art that increases artistic viewership, discourse, and community participation. Yvonne met LaJuné McMillian through her work at A Blade of Grass as a curator for projects in the Curriculum of the Future series. Yvonne is also President and Co-Founder of the nonprofit library and arts incubator Flatbush Commons.

Recess is supported, in part, by Alloy Development, LLC, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Arison Arts Foundation, Art for Justice Fund, Art Matters Foundation, The Andy Warhol, Foundation for the Visual Arts, Blavatnik Family Foundation, Bloomberg LP Philanthropy, Brendan Dugan, Brooklyn Community Foundation, The Cy Twombly Foundation. The David Teiger Foundation, David Rockefeller Fund, The Destina Foundation, DFW Fund, ELMA Philanthropies, Ford Foundation, The Fox Aarons Foundation, Frank E. Clark Charitable Trust, The Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, The Jacques and Natasha Gelman Foundation, Jane Hait, Jewish Communal Fund, The Jill and Peter Kraus Foundation, Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund, Lawrence & Idell Weisberg Foundation, The Luce Foundation, Kickstarter, MacKenzie Scott & Dan Jewitt, The Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation, The National Endowment for the Arts, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, New York Community Trust, The New York State Council on the Arts, The Odyssey Fund, The Pinkerton Foundation, Progressive Philanthropy Group, The Prospect Hill Foundation, The Richard Pousette-Dart Foundation, Robert Lehman Foundation, Saks Fifth Avenue, The Salomon Foundation, The Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation, The Shapiro-Silverberg Foundation, The Silverweed Foundation, Sozosie Foundation, The Stavros Niarchos Foundation, Tikkum Olam Foundation, VIA Fund, Visionary Freedom Fund, Wescustogo Foundation, The Willem de Kooning Foundation